Digital Marketing Essentials: Marketing Tools, European Advertising Insights, And More

Is there a limit to content consumption? How can marketers use Facebook Messenger and Promoted Pins? These are some of the questions relevant this month.

Digital Marketing Essentials: Marketing Tools, European Advertising Insights, And More

A digital marketing tools visualisation guide can now help marketers identify opportunities, while content marketing has grown in popularity across Europe. These are just two recent developments in the field.

Selecting marketing technology tools is a real challenge, as discussed last month. At Smart Insights we’ve been working on a digital marketing tools visualisation guide combining both insight and management tools. The result is our “Essential Digital Marketing Tools Wheel.”

It recommends five key tools in each of 30 categories that support a business across the customer lifecycle, and is set within our RACE (Reach-Act-Convert-Engage) Planning framework.

It was a challenge to show just five tools in each category and it’s inevitable that such a selection will be subjective. To make the list as objective as possible we tapped into online services that help compare Martech services and tools, such as Forrester and Gartner, which tend to focus on more expensive “enterprise” services, and others such as G2 Crowd, TrustRadius, Capterra, and Alternative, which are often limited by the categories they cover and the number of reviews submitted as part of the Voice of the Crowd.

Within each category, services were ranked from the outer part of the circle to the inner part based on popularity in volume of usage. Widely used, freemium, or lower cost tools, therefore, tend to be ranked higher in most categories. Exceptions are in enterprise tool categories such as Marketing Cloud, services we use ourselves, those rated highly on review sites, and services suitable for small and mid-size businesses with limited tools budgets.

I hope it’s a useful visual guide to help marketers identify opportunities (a larger version and background report on each tool’s benefits and features can be downloaded here).

European Advertising Insights: Adobe Digital Index

As a trainer, consultant, and publisher focused on digital marketing, one of my goals is to keep marketers informed about the latest statistics on digital marketing performance. Questions I often hear from marketers include: “ How do we compare?” , “ What does good look like? ”, or “ How much can we improve our conversion rates?

By reviewing the latest user adoption stats, such as those on mobile tech and social media, marketers can forecast better. One of my recommendations for European marketers is the recently published Adobe Digital Index Advertising report for Europe (Adobe is’s parent company).

An interesting data point is that paid search growth on Google in Europe slowed 33% year on year. Looking across all search and social platforms, paid search spend growth also took a marked downturn from 17% to 5% year on year.

This prompts questions about how spend is shifting in Europe as it matures. The Adobe analysis reveals three key trends causing this impact: audience-based, programmatic advertising; mobile advertising; and Product Listing Ads (PLAs) on both Google and Bing. To this I would add increasing spend on Facebook and other social networks, both for awareness raising and retargeting.

How Is Content Marketing Managed In Europe?

According to some recent research I’ve been involved in, businesses still believe there is room for further improvement in how content marketing in Europe is managed:

Evaluating content marketing is also a significant challenge. Nearly half of businesses involved in content marketing admit that ROI measurement is limited.

Despite this, content marketing has grown in popularity across Europe. I believe this growth is due to its potential to fuel several inbound marketing channels, including paid and natural search, social media, and email marketing. A robust content marketing strategy will give marketers a way to integrate separate channels aimed at increasing advocacy from existing contacts and customers using social media, while driving awareness through SEO, which remains an important driver of business for many organisations.

In the past, I have heard clients say they need an SEO, PPC, Social media, CRO, or an email welcome strategy. Yet, it is more efficient to have an overall audience engagement strategy that integrates these channels and is based on planning, creating, and distributing content marketing. This explains the appeal of content marketing and its growth.

Whether that growth will be sustained as competition for distribution and consumption of content grows is open to speculation. Evidence compiled by Moz and BuzzSumo shows that already much content has limited impact, with 75% of blog posts analysed getting fewer than 10 social shares and zero links from other domains. It’s difficult to see that ROI will be achieved in these cases. There’s even a term for this phenomenon—Content Shock—coined by Mark Schaefer who believes that:

This upward trend of content consumption is not sustainable because every human has a physiological, inviolable limit to the amount of content they can consume. I believe, as marketers, we have been lulled into a false sense of security thinking that this consumption trend will continue to rise without end. That is simply not possible.

Platform Updates: Facebook And Pinterest

Of the main platform developments in April, those that came from Facebook and Pinterest are the ones for marketers to watch most closely: